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Krishnamurthy, Bangalore Seshachelam (1964) Land and Labour in Nyasaland 1891-1914. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The problem of revenue was the most dominant one in the history of Nyasaland, between 1891 and 1914. Soon after the Protectorate was established in 1891, Johnston levied a tax in the enforcement of which he found many practical difficulties. Meanwhile settlers had come and had obtained grants of land from Chiefs. They had also begun experiments in coffee as an export crop. Johnston made a land settlement which was designed to encourage the development of land by European enterprise without disturbing African rights. The Administration found that the settlers subserved the needs of the country also by enabling Africans to earn money in order to pay their taxes. The demands for labour which increased with economic development resulted in confusing the question of African land rights in the Shire Highlands and the clause under which African rights had been safeguarded by Johnston was so ambiguously worded that it was of no help to protect Africans. European agriculture which could subsist only by paying lower wages could not also compete with the mining centres of the South which offered higher wages and attracted labour from Nyasaland. The Administration did nothing to stop this by encouraging the emergence of the the peasant producer which was the only alternative and which was possible only by a change in land policy giving priority to African interests. Nevertheless, it pursued its policy of allocating land to Europeans which was becoming scarce with the growth of population. Thus by 1914, the two problems of land and labour had been built into the history of Nyasaland.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:19

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